Meet the Wandering Knapps

Meet the Wandering Knapps

Life living aboard

The Knapps are a family of five that moved aboard a 1987 Marine Tradewind 47 trawler in September 2019 after selling absolutely everything. Jolene and Chris brought aboard their three sons, Carter (12), Chase (11), and Caleb (9), plus two cats (Cheddar and Tiger), and they haven’t looked back.

Like other couples, they planned to cruise in retirement until Carter gave them a bit of a push by asking what the point was of a traditional life as Americans know it. Chris and Jolene realized that it was time to do the adventure with their kids, rather than waiting until they were gone. So far, they’ve spent time at anchor and in marinas over 14 months around the Florida Keys and seven months in the Bahamas. Here are some of their thoughts about living aboard.

Challenges: Something always breaks! It’s a boat. Also, the main struggle is always weather. Weather rules our life. We are always checking the wind, our location, and hiding from the wind. We have had our share of heavy winds, returning to the boat with our dinghy full of water, when every inch of everything is wet.

The Best Parts: Freedom! Beauty. One thing I really enjoy is the simple, small living. We don’t have a bunch of stuff and clutter. We also don’t have the constant hustle of activities that make a family so busy they never spend time together. We eat dinner together and play games all the time. We have all been pushed to try new things and we’ve grown. We have all had to face our fears head-on and we have overcome. The feeling of joy is constant.

Plans for the Future: We have a million plans and we aren’t sure which one to do first: Back to the Bahamas, over to the Dominican Republic, north for the Great Loop, down to Central America or sell this boat, fly to the Med, and buy another boat. After living and traveling for two years on our trawler, we now want to see more than we originally planned.

Biggest Surprise: Ocean cruising is NOTHING like inland and shore cruising. (And we haven’t even done an ocean crossing, we are just baby cruisers.) We have learned how much we don’t know. We studied, read, and heard about it all. But until we had our own experience, we just didn’t understand it. You have to feel it yourself to truly know it and know what you like and what you don’t like.

Advice for Others: Be mentally prepared for anything. It is NOT always paradise. You will be scared, heartbroken, disappointed, distraught, and angry. However, you will also never feel more alive, experience more joy, be prouder of your accomplishments, or spend more family time together and find peace.

Future Plans: For now, we have fun and get to swim around the boat at sunsets after dinner, which is one of our favorite things to do. We don’t have any specific plans anymore. We’re guided by weather.

To read more on the Wandering Knapps and their adventures, visit them on the web and social media.







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